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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

One on Top of the Other

(Una sull'altra)
1969 | ItalyFranceSpain | 108 min | More...
A still from One on Top of the Other (1969)
B: 4 stars (out of 5)
on Thu Sep 24, 2020

Lucio Fulci’s first thriller wows with confident pacing, stylish camera-work, and strong performances. I went in cold and suggest you do likewise. The less you know, the better.

If that’s too big a leap of faith, then I shall set the scene. Jean Sorel plays George, a doctor desperate to keep his clinic solvent. His asthmatic wife, Susan, despises him and he’s carrying on an affair with a photographer named Jane. While away with Jane, George receives word that Susan has died. Unbeknownst to George, Susan had taken out a large life insurance policy and named George the beneficiary. Of course, the police and insurance company suspect foul play. Things worsen for George after he encounters Susan’s doppelgänger, Monica, a burlesque dancer and sex worker.

I’ll reveal no more, save that Fulci sets his story in post-Summer of Love San Francisco and treats the city like a fourth lead. The location photography lends a palpable atmosphere and—along with the doppelgänger plot—invites comparisons to Vertigo. Indeed, Fulci crafts a grimier, gender-power-reversed remix of Hitchcock’s classic, and I enjoyed it—even though it should have ended with the fade to monochrome in the restaurant.

Viewing History

    Watched on
    Thu Sep 24, 2020 via Blu-ray (2018 | Mondo Macabro)